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8.30am That's it from us this morning. Have a wonderful Wednesday. See you tomorrow for Halloween eve, yippee!
8.06am LOCAL SPORT: Wollongong import Jahii Carson has assured Hawks' fans he is yet to scratch the surface on what he can deliver, ahead of Friday's vital double-header.
8.04am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A passageway in London has sold for 260,000 pounds. Yep, a passageway.
8.02am NATIONAL: Senator and Olympic athlete Nova Peris says she "categorically rejects any wrongdoing" over allegations that she used taxpayers' money to bring Ato Boldon to Australia to help her carry out an extra-marital affair with the Olympic sprinter. Read more.
8am I have just become aware that today is WORLD CAT DAY! Enjoy.
7.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 20 degrees. There is a slight chance of showers this morning. All good on the roads & rail.
7.56am PARENTING: new research has revealed that baby number three actually doesn’t bring any extra happiness for mum and dad.
7.54am It's that time of the year when international designers show their swimwear collections - but some of these suits are just unwearable.
7.52am NATIONAL: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has told colleagues that Tanya Plibersek has "taken a leaf out of Julia Gillard's playbook" and is engaged in a "campaign" to undermine her leader Bill Shorten.
7.50am STRANGE BUT TRUE: A woman spent most of her childhood trying to beat that ridiculous claw arcade game. When she finally beat that sucker as an adult, she couldn't hold back her emotions. Odd.
7.48am A keen Rush reader has pointed out that the chairman of the Northern Territory Seafood Council is the appropriately named Rob Fish. Ha, love it!
7.46am MUSIC NEWS: Claims labeling the man behind the Suzuki music teaching method as 'one of the biggest frauds in music' have been described as ridiculous by music teachers. Read more.
7.44am Don't forget the free moonlight movies kick off this weekend. Check out what's on & where below.
7.42am LOCAL NEWS: More concrete details of a new tower development planned for Railway Parade have emerged, with the 28-level proposal now on exhibition through Wollongong City Council's website.
*Council reporter Kate McIlwain has the story.
7.40am There's $5 drinks & a spit roast on offer at The Social this Friday. Get into it - sounds good!
7.38am CELEB GOSS ALERT: It's nice to have friends in high places - Taylor Swift's friends Lorde & Selena Gomez are gushing over her new album 1989.
7.36am NATIONAL: The Abbott government's move to make twice-yearly adjustments to petrol tax will add half a cent per litre at the bowser from November, and hit the nation's 6300 service stations with additional compliance cost of more than $800 per year. Read more.
7.34am Head to the City Diggers this Friday night for Chris Henry & the Hardcore Grass. Tix at the door.
7.30am SPORT: World football boss Sepp Blatter said yesterday that FIFA categorically backed Russia's staging of the 2018 World Cup and praised its preparations.
7.28am Wollongong's Boston Espresso is kicking off the morning with fresh coffee & flowers. Perfection.
7.26am Domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty has been named Victorian Australian of the Year at an awards ceremony overnight.
7.24am NATIONAL: ASIO has found there is no valid security reason to ban the burqa. In a confidential report, the agency says the only security consequences of banning the burqa would likely be "predominately, if not wholly, negative".
7.22am The Bachelor memes just keep on coming - and I can't get enough of them. This one is hilarious!
7.20am Penny Hartgerink is playing her last gigs before she has her baby. She’ll be playing at TBH on Saturday between 3pm & 6pm & in a trio on November 15 at the Heritage Hotel in Bulli. Her bub is due in December. Congrats!
7.18am HEALTH: An image of the average Australian male has emerged - he stands at 175.6 centimetres tall and weighs in at 85.9 kilograms, giving him a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27 - in the overweight category. Read more.
7.16am If you missed this one yesterday, Hugh Jackman has undergone treatment for another skin cancer on his nose. It's his third treatment in a year.
7.14am LOCAL SPORT: An extensive shake-up of personnel and a demanding early season schedule are behind the Hawks' alarming 1-5 start to the season, captain Oscar Forman says. Don't forget the boys take on Perth on Friday night at the WEC. Get your tickets!
7.12am WORLD NEWS: A stream of lava from the Kilauea volcano meandered towards a village on Hawaii's Big Island on Monday night, creeping to within just 70 metres of the nearest home.
7.10am Do you donate blood? Illawarra blood stocks are always in low supply - head to your local blood bank & get needled today.
7.08am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Robbie Williams has filmed his wife giving birth to their second child - complete with him singing Frozen's Let It Go to her. He's also live tweeted the occasion. As you do.
7.06am STRANGE BUT TRUE (AND GROSS): An afternoon of exploring Sydney turned messy for 25 tourists who became sick en masse with an apparent case of food poisoning. Read more.
7.04am Don't forget the Thirroul Rock n Vintage Roll festival & the MS Sydney to Gong bike ride are on this Sunday.
7.02am LOCAL NEWS: Wollongong City Council has congratulated the NSW government for taking action on coal seam gas licences in water catchment areas but says there is still more to do to protect the Illawarra from potentially dangerous mining exploration.
*Reporter Kate McIlwain has the story.
7am This picture of a puppy trying on a Boston police department vest has EXPLODED on social media - and I can see why, so damn cute!
6.58am Good morning! Welcome if you're just tuning in. We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 20 degrees. There is a slight chance of showers this morning. That accident @ Coalcliff (Lawrence Hargrave Drive near Paterson Road) is still affecting northbound traffic. All good on the rail.
6.56am In some other music news this morning, One Direction's Harry Styles has STACKED IT while ice skating for the band's latest video clip. Ladies, it's okay, he's fine.
6.54am I'm not sure about this - I've just read about the tea latte. It's half strong tea to half strong milk. I dunno, sounds a bit yucky to me.
6.52am MUSIC NEWS: Molly Meldrum is set to become the first non-recording artist to enter ARIA's Hall of Fame at next month's awards. Aw, that's lovely.
6.50am Wollongong Botanic Gardens is hosting its native plant sale again this Friday. Head in for some gorgeous plants at very reasonable prices.
6.48am Have you bought your tickets to Thoroughly Modern Millie yet? The show opens at Arcos on November 21. PS my v talented sister is in the cast!
6.46am NATIONAL: Terrorism recruiters are increasingly looking to sway Australian youths as the supply of older would-be foreign fighters dries up, the federal police's counterterrorism chief has said. Read more.
6.44am Melbourne Cup is less than a week away - have you got plans?
6.42am Another shocking case of child neglect has emerged, this time in Adelaide. Check out the pictures below - horrifying. A four-year-old boy was found locked in a room, starving. So, so sad.
6.40am SYDNEY: A man has suffered a suspected fractured eye socket after he and his friend were assaulted and robbed while walking across Pyrmont Bridge.
6.38am LOCAL NEWS: Kiama council has twice confirmed Thunda Track will be the name of a new walking trail through the old Bombo Quarry. However, the Geographical Names Board now wants its say on the proposal.
*Reporter Alex Arnold has the story.
6.36am MOVIE NEWS: Marvel has found its Doctor Strange. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch is in final talks to play the star role in the studio's latest superhero film. Read more.
6.34am In some other celeb news this morning, Lara Bingle has been slammed for photoshopping a picture on her Instagram account. Really Lara, really!?
6.32am WORLD NEWS: Pope Francis has continued his habit of making progressive statements - he has appeared to endorse the theory of the Big Bang and told a gathering at the Vatican that there was no contradiction between believing in God as well as the prevailing scientific theories regarding the expansion of our universe. You go Pope!
6.30am Beach Burrito is hosting a Day of the Dead Halloween Party on Friday night from 6pm. Expect DJs, prizes and face painting.
6.28am LOCAL SPORT: The Dragons have taken the first step in bringing some much-needed size to their lightweight forward pack by throwing cult figure George Rose an NRL lifeline.
6.26am CELEB GOSS ALERT: Julia Roberts has come out swinging about the pressure to look beautiful in the film industry, admitting she's taken a "huge career risk" by not having a face-lift.
6.24am NATIONAL: Thousands of public servants are at risk of losing their jobs on February 24, according to the public sector union, under new rules that prevent temporary employees from working for more than four years with the same government agency. Read more.
6.22am A little hump day funny to start your morning off.
6.20am MUSIC NEWS: Sydney's Taronga Zoo has announced the line-up for its summer concert series & it looks really good - expect Rufus Wainwright, Paul Kelly, Sarah Blasko and some of the highest profile male artists in Australian rock, Bernard Fanning, Dan Sultan and Spiderbait.
6.18am SPORT: The father of Anthony Watmough says the family is "gutted" that the NSW and Australian international has been forced out of Manly and into the colours of arch rivals Parramatta.
6.16am LOCAL NEWS: A unique parenting program that caters for those whose kids have been placed in care has netted CatholicCare Wollongong a national award.
*Health reporter Lisa Wachsmuth has the story.
6.14am In some truly disturbing news this morning, Jetstar has reduced its carry-on baggage limit from 10kg to 7kg. Oh god no. #whatwillshopperslikemedo?
6.12am MH17: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday vowed to bring to justice the perpetrators of the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17, but said he feared fighting in Ukraine might block access to the crash site.
6.10am It's national Chocolate Day in the US. Surely we can piggyback off that & introduce it here, right!?
6.08am It's nearly Halloween! Check out these very, very wrong baby Halloween costumes - I love the Chucky doll, hilarious!
6.06am And in nationals news, via the SMH:
*Muslim parents would be fined tens of thousands of dollars and face jail if they make their teenage girls wear the burqa as part of Palmer United senator Jacqui Lambie's bid to outlaw the headwear in Australia, despite a research paper warning her proposed laws would likely be struck down by the High Court.
*A man will face court accused of filming up women's skirts at Broadway shopping centre in central Sydney.
*The father of runaway schoolgirl Michelle Levy says his daughter ate chocolate, read books and slept on a spare mattress but does not know anything about the stranger who allowed her to stay in his eastern suburbs unit for two nights.
6.04am Here's what's making news in your Mercury today
*Twenty ambitious tourism projects worth more than $378 million have been proposed in a new Destination Wollongong plan, which would create more than 2000 jobs and attract nearly three million extra visitors.
*The mother of a five-year-old girl who went missing in bushland at Mount Kembla at the weekend has praised emergency services for their rapid response. Read more.
*A woman who called triple-0 following the stabbing attack that claimed Cherie Vize's life has told a court she immediately knew something was wrong when she heard screams coming from her neighbour's yard.
6.02am Let's kick things off with the latest weather & traffic
WEATHER We're in for a partly cloudy day with a top of 20 degrees. There is a slight chance of showers this morning.
TRAFFIC There is a car accident @ Coalcliff (Lawrence Hargrave Drive near Paterson Road), which is affecting northbound traffic. Otherwise, all good on the roads.
TRAINS There is a good service on the South Coast line.
6am Good morning Illawarra! Happy hump day Wednesday - hope you're having a good week. Stay with your host, Emma Spillett, this morning for all the latest news etc.